Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.
For the past ten weeks, we have been discussing the revisions to the English-language Novus Ordo Missae. Imagine walking into the parish where you grew up as a child, and realizing both from the style of worship, and their comportment in its setting, that those whom you knew your entire life, no longer realize they once had a heritage, much less that they have lost it. Steve Knightley and Phil Beer, known collectively as Show of Hands, produced a song lamenting the cost in everyday life.
The song is a rallying cry for the English to get behind their identity and musical heritage, spurred by a certain comment by Dr Kim Howells – that his idea of hell was three Somerset folk singers in the pub.
Well, I've got a vision of urban sprawl There's pubs where no-one ever sings at all
And everyone stares at a great big screen Overpaid soccer stars, prancing teens ...
It found champions in unlikely quarters, with some even calling for it to be the new national anthem!
Without our stories or our songs How will we know where we come from?
Such is the way of life itself. Such is the way of our Faith.
As the nation goes to hell in a handbasket, we know what it needs in its darkest hour: more Chris Christie porn!
Listen as the Governor of New Jersey takes on both parties, especially the so-called "super-committee," not to mention the man in the White House, on account of failing to get the job done. In the long run, he may have the advantage in not running for President in 2012. He can finish the job in the Garden State, then decide whether to run in 2016 or 2020. By then we might finally figure it out, that the "mainstream" candidates in both parties don't have one clue among them.
Only a "wisenheimer" like Stephen Colbert could come up with something like this, which was stolen from Father Z, but we know how much some of you prefer to see it here with the really KEWL kids. So sit back and occupy your computer or iPad or whatever “personal property, not private property” is at your disposal.
From the wires of the Associated Press, unless indicated otherwise, and all without permission or shame.
• The undisputed Mama's Boy Capital of the World has to be Cleveland, where it is no coincidence that an eight-year-old boy has been taken from his mother and placed in foster care, as she can no longer control his weight. The third-grader weighs in at over 200 pounds, and preventing kids from picking on him is too much of a strain on a public school system, that has enough trouble teaching those brats to read a job application. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• In Chestertown, Maryland, "Frosty the Snowman" was arrested, or at least someone who looked like him, during their annual (no kidding, they still call it a) Christmas parade, for allegedly scuffling with police and kicking at a police dog. There must have been some magic in that ... nah, it couldn't be! (Easton Star-Democrat)
• Tatiana Limanova, an award-winning journalist and host of a Russian TV news show, has been taken off the air for making an obscene gesture after mentioning President Barack Obama in a live newscast. Something about the recent APEC summit. Most Americans probably did the same thing, but hers went viral. Ooops! (Reuters)
• Everybody's saying that the President did not mention the word "God" in his annual Thanksgiving proclamation. On the White House website, the transcript shows God as having been mentioned twice. If the President failed to invoke the Almighty during the broadcast, he obviously thought the better of it at some other point. (whitehouse.gov)
Finally, and for all you news hounds out there, remember to watch for Uncle Jay's annual Singing Year in Review, to be made available on DVD. We will definitely keep you posted. Stay tuned, and stay in touch.
To You, O Lord, I lift my soul. I trust in You, save me from shame. Let not my foes boast over me. Keep those who trust in you from shame.
-- Inspired by Psalm 24(25)
[This series authored by Kathleen Pluth. Recommended to the tunes of either Creator Alme Siderum (Creator of the Stars of Night), Old 100th (All People That on Earth Do Dwell), Duke Street (Jesus Shall Reign), or Jesu Dulcis Memoria (O Radiant Light, O Sun Divine).]
Ralph Keifer (1940-1987) was a professor of liturgy whose last assignment was at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, before dying of a long illness. He left this earthly existence while the status quo of liturgical reform was very much in the hands of progressives, and his published works for general Catholic audiences would have played a bit fast and loose with the rubrics. And yet, even as a stopped clock is right twice a day, he was not wrong about everything.
It is buried somewhere in this writer's library, a 1980 commentary on the General Instruction of the Roman Missal entitled To Give Thanks and Praise. Within its pages, Keifer reminds us that the sacred liturgy is a work to be performed, as opposed to a series of words and texts to be gotten through. He put it another way, as memory serves.
On the night he was betrayed, Our Lord said, “Do this,” not “Say these words.”
As the third editio typica of the English-language translation of the Novus Ordo Missae (ordinary form) has been introduced today, most of what is new, indeed most of what has been discussed up to now, has been about the different words to be used. When the priest proclaims “The Lord be with you” today, the people will no longer reply “And also with you” but “And with your spirit.” The latter is what “Et cum spiritu tuo” actually means.
Sadly, for much of the English-speaking world, including the United States, the transformation is at risk for stopping there. Even as the Order of Mass in the altar missal, and the same in the worship aids produced by the major publishers, will hand the opportunity to them on a silver platter, many will ignore the wishes of most Popes in the last century -- we include those who wear their orthodoxy on their sleeves in that number -- and continue to reduce singing to something merely done at Mass, as opposed to singing the Mass!
On the other end of the ideological spectrum from the late professor, is the current executive secretariat director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), the commission of representative bishops from all eleven episcopal conferences of the English-speaking world, which has been charged for nearly three decades now with the revised translation of the Roman Missal. Msgr Andrew Wadsworth, in addressing the Southeastern Liturgical Music Symposium in August of 2010, made essentially the same point as Keifer, if more eloquently:
“Chant is not merely words set to music.” It is “a heightened manner of proclaiming the text.” Pay attention to this, dear reader. Beat it over the head of your parish priest, as he dismisses such initiatives by claiming that "I can't sing." We must be clear on this point: At least not in the sense that either is traditionally understood.
In the ancient world, there was little or no distinction between public oratory and what we would recognize as chant. We see remnants of this practice today, in everything from the town crier who roamed the streets proclaiming the news of the day, to the vendor selling hotdogs at the baseball stadium, to the old man selling roses on the sidewalk of any major city. Although it was not necessarily what took the process of revision so long, one might daresay that the most radical change to the Roman Missal, is not the words, but the role of singing, specifically chant. Furthermore, this role is official.
We should give credit where it is due, to our hometown Archdiocese of Cincinnati, as being among those who introduced a guide to an official "Revised Order of Mass." This 32-page-plus-cover guide, appearing in the pews of all parishes and oratories of the Archdiocese, contains the Order of Mass, along with the accompanying Roman Missal chants, including those which appear as the "Ordinary of the Mass" (the Kyrie, the Gloria, et cetera) in the Missal itself. It also includes four other musical settings of the Ordinary, composed by artists under commission of various publishers of Catholic worship aids -- some of them new to this revision, others adapted thereto.
On the other hand, the Diocese of Arlington produced a laminated 8.5 x 11 two-sided card with only the words to be changed. Unlike a paperback pamphlet, it will last for years after its usefulness has come to an end, and it will not encourage anyone to sing anything.
After all, it's only about the words, right?
The Rubber Meets the Road
IMAGE: From the The Huffington Post, a bishop celebrates Mass, using a glass chalice and flagon to contain the Precious Blood of Christ, instead of precious metal as is required (and which doesn't break as easily).
The news in the field on the First Sunday of Advent, if we are to believe the secular press, is a mixed bag. A recent poll taken showed that over half of older Catholics favored the previous translation, but that about two-thirds of younger Catholics favored the new one. Among the contrary opinions are these two little gems from The Huffington Post:
So, a former school teacher has trouble using a dictionary to look up big grown-up words like "consubstantial," and a publisher from Milwaukee forgets that he has been a Catholic just long enough, to remember how much more confusion there was when the Novus Ordo Missae was promulgated in the first place.
Of course, it could only be worse in Canada, whose bishops as a whole have been in a state of virtual schism for over a generation. One wonders how many ad limina visits it is going to take for them to get the message. Maybe the next round.
Maybe an ex-nun with latent attitude problems will be hired as the Über-usher, walking along the pews with a ruler to rap the knuckles of reverent malcontents.
Meanwhile, south of the border, down Alabama way, Jeffrey Tucker is managing editor of the magazine Sacred Music, author of the blog The Chant Café, and a leader in the restoration on Gregorian chant in Catholic parish life. As a witness to any one of a number of islands of liturgical sanity, he reports from Saint Michael's in Auburn, where he is musical director.
From the looks of things, many of those who were favorably inclined are even more so, and many of those who were skeptical are now more favorably inclined. Even the parish in my hometown in Ohio, where the repertoire has been mostly contemporary in recent years, is giving serious consideration to the use of plainchant from that little red book (see above). Imagine the transformation that would bring, as a small town parish rediscovers a heritage they did not even know they had lost.
(This is a work in progress to be continued. Stay tuned ...)
Our usual Friday afternoon feature is taking the week off, while the staff and management of man with black hat is taking the day off for the hustle and bustle of shopping (which wouldn't be a bad idea for the rest of you, either). Here in Ohio, there are business matters to which the family is attending. Emotions are frayed, and the future uncertain. Some people seem to understand. Others are ... challenged, let us say.
Someday, if you can indulge me, dear reader, I will pour my heart out on this page. Until then, you can make do with this.
I usually avoid Black Friday -- the day after Thanksgiving, the "official" beginning of the Christmas shopping season -- as if it were the Black Plague. (Recent news reports would justify this concern.) So it was actually refreshing to spend it in “Olde Milford” downtown. Quaint, huh? All the stores that used to sell things people actually needed are replaced by antique stores and fancy little bistros. (Well, almost all of them. This photo of the street in quieter days shows an appliance store, promoting such unglamorous items as vacuum cleaners, coincidentally where Rosenzweig's Department Store used to be.) Even the municipal building moved out of downtown, to a location with more room, if less of a heritage. Still, they have to keep up the ambiance. I can walk down the street and tell you where about half the old stores used to be; the Milford Hardware store, Hackmeister's Meat Market, the Post Office, the Corner Barber Shop, Diskete's Jewelers, even the old A & P Grocery Store which later became a Rexall Drug Store.
I bought a tree with all the decorations and lights on it from an antique dealer for $25.00. That was a steal. I'm leaving it for Mom and Dad to have in their room (a matter to be handled by my kid sister at an opportune moment). I also bought a bottle of dessert wine on sale from what once was the aforementioned barber shop. On the other hand, I didn't have any shoes that needed repairing, or I would have stopped by the one place which actually has never changed.
Thank goodness some things in this world are still sacred.
I had dinner with my parents today. Pat and her husband showed up. We had a private dining room (an unused activity room), and the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. Two things you check out in a retirement or senior care facility; the activities program, and the dietician -- in other words, how's the food? At Cottingham, they do a really great job. Mom liked the pumpkin pie, which is a good sign because she made her own from scratch.
They also have these large bird cages throughout the facility. This is a close-up of one of the specimens. Most of them are a certain kind of tiny brown finch with red beaks, but there's this one here, I'd love to find out what it is. (Somebody wanna ask Father Z? He knows all this stuff.)
Finally, we present for your consideration, this classic episode from the NBC series The West Wing, where President Bartlett is on a mission of not-quite-national importance. And speaking of presidents, ours made his annual proclamation as usual. He pays tribute to the Wampanoag Nation for aiding the Pilgrims. He also mentions God a lot. Fortunately, he didn't piss off any Muslims, because a few of them might go berserk and hurt somebody. (Was I being sarcastic? We may never know.)
It's generally quiet here at the house where I grew up. I actually haven't watched TV much since I've been here. Much of the time here has been spent writing and catching up on research.
Yesterday morning I stopped at an independently-owned coffee bar on Main Street known as The Main Cup. It was there that I ran into Susan, a classmate from grade school. We've known each other since we were five years old. She's beautiful, she's vivacious, and she remembers things about me that I don't even know. It appears that meeting with the locals on Wednesday morning is a tradition there. It was great comparing notes again, and to spend an hour reminiscing about the people I knew from childhood. Those are the friends who mean the most over a lifetime, if you are fortunate enough to hang on to them. I should remember this the next time I'm back. After all, my birthday is on a Wednesday.
IMAGE: Norman Rockwell, Saying Grace, 1951
I visit my parents at Cottingham almost every day. Tuesday night was a pizza party with most of the grandsons. (Most of them are heavily into volleyball; not the candy-ass variety you played in the back yard, but the hardcore type of game that is now in the Olympics.) Later today my sister Pat, her husband Ed, and I, will join Mom and Dad at their adopted home. Pat managed to wrangle the use of a (private?) dining room. They have real tables there, and we can sit down and have something that resembles the first Norman Rockwell painting. Now all we have to do is move them both a couple hundred feet and listen to a certain amount of whining. What could go wrong?
I had years when I my Thanksgiving was more like the second painting, Saving Grace, only more alone. No kidding, I'd actually go to a place like IHOP and get something resembling a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, even when I preferred the meatloaf or the chicken fingers. It's the principle of the thing. The late 1990s were the loneliest, I think. Sometimes Paul would join me, when he wasn't with his mother. Over the years it got better. And now that I'm home again, I can be ever more thankful.
After all these years of eschewing anything that smacks of extravagance, the house now has cable TV and free wi-fi. I've got cheese coneys down the road, and radio stations that are more interesting than any in DC.
I sure with Sal was here. She could spend Black Friday at the Tiffany's downtown. Oh well, maybe next year.
Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is the online version of a literary journal first published in 1998, and which is found in most sophisticated bookstores. A recent issue featured a piece by Eric Auld entitled ...
Seven Bar Jokes Involving Grammar and Punctuation
1. A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
2. A dangling modifier walks into a bar. After finishing a drink, the bartender asks it to leave.
3. A question mark walks into a bar?
4. Two quotation marks “walk into” a bar.
5. A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to drink.
6. The bar was walked into by the passive voice.
7. Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.
IMAGE: The author in the front yard, dressed in his proverbial sailor suit, 1959.
It took me two days to get ready to leave town, but I'm finally here, in the house where I grew up, in a town on the eastern outskirts of Cincinnati.
The driving was a little rough, with rain or drizzle for half the trip, and thick fog in the mountains of western Maryland and northeastern West Virginia. But tonight I'm here alone at the house, and my parents are at a facility about ten miles from here. I visited them on my way here. I'll spend Thanksgiving dinner with them in their room. This was actually preferable to the dining room, which in the skilled nursing wing has a few people with a few screws loose among them, who take to crying out on a regular basis. Personally, I'd rather sneak them out of the place and go to IHOP, but then there's the insurance risk.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bottle of wine to polish off before lights out.
Today, Uncle Jay occupies a brief episode after a long hiatus for which he provided some lame excuse involving his day job just to remind everybody about his most popular episode every year: the singing year in review! Yes, it WILL appear about a week before Christmas! In the meantime, Uncle Jay suggests you join in the spirit of giving. To him. Even though he hasn't been around to enhance our occasional “I read the news today, oh boy ...” series here at mwbh.
Following the administration of Holy Communion, the priest-celebrant calls upon the faithful to rise for a closing prayer, one that makes reference to the Eucharist having been received. The following is the one for the First Sunday of Advent. As usual, this vignette begins with the Latin text, followed by the 1973 translation, and finally the 2010 version.
Prosint nobis, quaesumus, Domine, frequentata mysteria, quibus nos, inter praetereuntia ambulantes, iam nunc instituis amare caelestia et inhaerere mansuris.
+ + +
Father, may our communion teach us to love heaven. May its promise and hope guide our way on earth.
+ + +
May these mysteries, O Lord, in which we have participated, profit us, we pray, for even now, as we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of heaven and hold fast to what endures.
Note once again how brief the 1973 version is compared to its Latin equivalent, as it becomes apparent that the translation is merely (and as usual) a paraphrase of what the Church actually prays. Indeed, as such orations go, this is one of the more egregious examples, such is the extent of its blandness. Still, the revised English text is not exactly a slavish translation of the original. (Note where "quaesumus" appears as "we pray" in the vernacular text.) Father Zuhlsdorf provides an insight with his own "slavishly accurate" text.
There are instances in the new Roman Missal, where the characteristics of Latin grammar do not carry over quite so eloquently into English. This particular oration was likely thought by the translators to be one of them. The principle followed here is less "word for word" than it is "meaning for meaning."
Before the faithful are dismissed, the celebrant gives his blessing. Except for the rendering of "Et cum spiritu tuo," the text for the standard version is left unchanged.
Dòminus vobìscum. Et cum spìritu tuo.
Benedìcat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spìritus Sanctus. Amen.
+ + +
The Lord be with you. And with your spirit.
May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
There is also a provision for a Pontifical Mass, where the celebrant receives the miter from his attendant, extends his right hand, and says:
Dòminus vobìscum. Et cum spìritu tuo.
Sit nomen Dòmini benedìctum. Ex hoc nunc et usque in sàeculum.
Adiutòrium nostrum in nòmine Dòmini. Qui fecit caelum et terram.
Benedìcat vos omnipotens Deus ...
+ + +
The Lord be with you. And with your spirit.
Blessed be the name of the Lord. Now and forever.
Our help is in the name of the Lord. Who made heaven and earth.
May almighty God bless you ...
At this point in the rubrics of the Order of Mass, we also read the following:
“On certain days or occasions, this formula of blessing is preceded, in accordance with the rubrics, by another more solemn formula of blessing or by a prayer over the people.” (142)
Turning to the appropriate page, we see further instruction:
“The following blessings may be used, at the discretion of the Priest, at the end of the celebration of Mass, or of a Liturgy of the Word, or of the Office, or of the Sacraments.
The Deacon or, in his absence, the Priest himself, says the invitation: Bow down for the blessing. Then the Priest, with hands extended over the people, says the blessing, with all responding: Amen.” (emphasis added)
In the traditional form of the Roman Mass, the "Blessing Over the People" took place during Masses on the weekdays of Lent. In the reformed Novus Ordo Missae, there are formulas for the entire year, and for certain occasions, the use of which are optional.
One advantage of the traditional (or "extraordinary") form, is that, after fifteen centuries of development, there is little left to the imagination. Not all priests are liturgists, and not all use the best judgment. As we have seen in recent years, many of them use very bad judgment, with the impression of being able to make things up as they go along. They do not require encouragement, and leaving options to their own discretion has the potential to do precisely that.
The faithful are then dismissed. The celebrant would ordinarily use a formula similar to (and more literal than) that which was used before ...
Ite, missa est. Deo gràtias.
+ + +
The Mass is ended, go in peace. Thanks be to God.
+ + +
Go forth, the Mass is ended. Thanks be to God.
... except that, in 2008, when Pope Benedict XVI authorized a number of minor corrections to the current Latin text (the "Editio Typica Tertia Emendata"), he also included three additional formulas for the dismissal of the faithful -- again, in the official Latin text.
Ite ad Evangelium Domini annuntiandum. (Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.)
Ite in pace, glorificando vita vestra Dominum. (Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.)
Ite in pace. (Go in peace.)
In an interview that same year with Gianni Cardinale of 30Giorni (30 Days) magazine, Francis Cardinal Arinze, then-Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, explained the process that led to the additions.
There are those who wonder (including yours truly) why a Pope who has written so extensively, and so eloquently, on the "hermeneutic of rupture" in the official liturgical reform, would use what should have been merely a correction of typographical errors and routine additions of commemorations of saints, to add anything which would have no basis in the history of the Roman liturgy, regardless of its merit. Presumedly, after an hour or more, the faithful might already "get it." Were this not so, is the addition of a sentence on their way out the door an effective catechesis?
On the other hand, we might be grateful that all nine final alternatives, never mind all seventy-two of those drafted, were never published. To that, we can truly respond, “Deo gratias.”
+ + +
Here ends our study of the Order of Mass itself, in particular, the alterations to the English-language text therein. With our tenth and final installment, to be published next week, on the First Sunday of Advent, we will examine the "Critical Issues" surrounding implementation of the new Roman Missal. We will explore the unfinished business that remains in fulfilling its purpose, and its enhancement of the official worship of the Church, and thus ad majorem Dei gloriam.
While researching Christmas customs in the British Isles for a piece earlier this week, we came across this merry band of merrymakers based in the east England county of Hertfordshire, known as The New Rope String Band. Not exactly traditional (at least not in the traditional sense, or did that make any sense?), but definitely not mainstream, either. I think they could hold their own on a Saturday night, so here they are. Enjoy.
FAMW: “Eat, Fry, Love” A Deep-Fried Cautionary Tale
Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner, and like a good neighbor, State Farm® is teaming up with William Shatner to warn us all of the need for ... TURKEY ... FRYER ... SAFETY! As much as this critically-acclaimed actor loves deep-fried turkey, he has made his share of mistakes over many Thanksgivings and Christmases, burning himself, and nearly burning down his house. In this dramatic retelling, Bill shows us how dangerous these one-pot wonders can be -- especially without the dingle-dangle.
1: Avoid oil spillover--don't overfill the pot. 2: Turn off flame when lowering the turkey into oil. 3: Fry outside, away from the house. 4: Properly thaw the turkey before frying. 5: Keep a grease-fire-approved extinguisher nearby.
... on the Thursday following this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy. Meanwhile, don't forget to join #ShatnerFryersClub.
“Is there a course in condescension that everyone is taking here?”
Most of us are inclined at any one time, to want what someone else has. It has been this way since the dawn of creation. Get enough people in one place who think that way, and the temptation arises to assume an unfair advantage on the part of those who "have" as opposed to "have not." Sometimes it is true, but usually it is not. This is why envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. “Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies; for he is like one who is inwardly reckoning. ‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you; but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels which you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.” (Proverbs 23: 6-8)
Envy can lead to a death, a self-destruction; in this case, of one's own contentment, of one's own aspirations to improve oneself.
For those who missed the party that was “Occupy Wall Street” in recent weeks (and loitering during the day without squatter's rights is simply not the same), there was already a recreation of George Orwell's Animal Farm in the works. We here at mwbh recommend this book to all budding young anarchists. Why? Because it demonstrates that if you are going to create Utopia, you must either first shed the foibles of human nature, or spend most of the time making excuses for them.
I'm more against private property, not personal property ...
Because, at the end of the day, not everyone walks away with a free iPad.
Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Danny Macaskill “Industrial Revolutions”
Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.
Industrial Revolutions is the amazing new film from street trials riding star Danny Macaskill. Filmed and edited for BBC Channel 4's documentary Concrete Circus. The film sees Danny take his incredible bike skills into an industrial train yard and some derelict buildings, as well as the beautiful Scottish countryside. Directed by Stu Thomson (Cut Media/MTBcut).
Music is "The Wolves" by Ben Howard courtesy of Universal Island Records.
[This movie is about a relationship between father and son, which is very timely to yours truly at present. -- DLA]
... is the tale of a great rivalry between a father and son. Eliezer and Uriel Shkolnik are both eccentric professors, who have dedicated their lives to their work in Talmudic Studies. The father, Eliezer, is a stubborn purist who fears the establishment and has never been recognized for his work. While his son, Uriel, is an up-and-coming star in the field, who appears to feed on accolades, endlessly seeking recognition. Then one day, the tables turn. When Eliezer learns that he is to be awarded the Israel Prize, the most valuable honor for scholarship in the country, his vanity and desperate need for validation are exposed. His son Uriel, meanwhile, is thrilled to see his father's achievements finally recognized but, in a darkly funny twist, is forced to choose between the advancement of his own career and his father's. Will he sabotage his father's glory?
FOOTNOTE is the story of insane academic competition, the dichotomy between admiration and envy for a role model, and the very complicated relationship between a father and son. Director: Joseph Cedar. Cast: Shlomo Bar Aba, Lior Ashkenazi, Alisa Rosen, Alma Zak, Daniel Markovich, Micah Lewesohn, Yuval Scharf, Nevo Kimchi.
Today is the Feast of Saint Philip the Apostle in the liturgical calendar of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, as well as the Byzantine Catholic Church. It also marks the forty-day season of penance in anticipation of the Birth of Christ, known as Saint Philip’s Fast, or Filipovka. Many Eastern Christians will at least abstain from meat (simple abstinence) for the duration of the Fast, while truly devout ones will also abstain from dairy products, which traditionally includes eggs (strict abstinence).
And you thought giving up meat on Fridays and Ember Days got you enough brownie points. Hah!
Meanwhile, here at mwbh, we want to get a jump on our usual schedule with today's feast, and introduce you to some Christmas customs a little early, like the little production you see in the video clip, just right for that school Christmas pageant. The script to a similar version can be found courtesy of The Weston Mummers. Another common scenario is available from Popular rhymes and nursery tales: a sequel to the Nursery rhymes of England By James Orchard Halliwell-Phillips. (Our research continues as this is published.)
[As this month is when Catholics traditionally contemplate the "Last Things" -- death, judgment, heaven, hell -- we choose this opportunity to reprint an article from November of 2009. -- DLA]
As part of our remembrance of the month of November, as that which Catholics associate with intentions of the dead and the Life Beyond, we devote this piece to the preparation of the dying.
Catholics in the health care professions, particularly those devoted to home and hospice care, may have a unique opportunity to bring their commission through Baptism to the fore. But it is no less so to friends and family of those who perpare for the Inevitable.
Here at “Chez Alexandre” we have a silver troika, consisting of a crucifix between two candlesticks. When a patient under Sal's care has passed away, we have been known to recite the Psalms together while the crucifix with lit candles is on the table before us. We have found the so-called "penitential psalms" also known as the "psalms of confession" to be quite suitable. They are: Psalms 6, 31(32), 37(38), 50(51), 101(102), 129(130), and 142(143). (NOTE: The numbering system from the Latin Vulgata is given preference here. Most modern usage employs the Greek, or Septuagint numbering, which appears here in parenthesis.) Of these, Psalm 50(51), the Miserere is the most appropriate:
Every Catholic home should have a "sick call set" handy, for the use of the priest or deacon who visits the sick or dying. It consists of a crucifix and two candles on a white tablecloth by the bedside, along with a vial of holy water, and a dish of regular water with a small white cloth for ablutions. The use of the palm from Palm Sunday, and a bell to announce the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, is optional. It has become common to have such a set self-contained in a wall crucifix, the top portion of which can be detached, to access the accessories contained in the base. (See image at left.)
The priest who comes to the door with the Sacrament does so in silence, and should be greeted by a person carrying a lighted candle. He will say, "Pax huic dómui."("Peace be unto this house.") The greeter should respond, "Et ómnibus habitántibus in ea."("And all who dwell therein.") The cleric is led to the room in silence. All genuflect or kneel in the presence of the Sacrament. In the event that the patient needs to confess his sins, all must leave the room, including the primary caregiver. A priest is trained to know when other assistance is needed. In the event that the patient lacks capacity to confess, a general absolution may be given.
If a priest or deacon is unavailable, the faithful are nonetheless able to help prepare a soul for the journey. A page devoted to this is found at Fisheaters.com. A prominent feature to this guide is the prayer known by its beginning word in Latin: Proficiscere.
Of course, circumstances may dictate the length or brevity of such preparations. The communal praying of the Rosary, particularly the use of the Sorrowful Mysteries, is most commendable whatever the circumstances.
Once the soul has passed on, a different set of prayers is appropriate. As the time before death is devoted to preparation, that which follows requires intercession from on high. One most appropriate form is the Responsorium, the Responsory for the Dead:
According to the latest Poverty Guidelines released by the U S Department of Health and Human Services this past March, the poverty level for 2011 was set at $22,350 (total yearly income) for a family of four.
Can a family of four actually live on that, or say, a little less, at $20,000 a year?
It can be done, and this writer knows families that have done it, and are doing it now. It is best done in the country, if you have a car that at least runs -- yours truly's first car was a 1965 Rambler with no radio or heater; it did the job -- and the ability to grow a garden of at least a quarter-acre, as well as keep a pen with chickens, maybe a (female) goat for milking. It can be done in the city, where you may be able to get by without a car, and can grow a garden in your yard, or obtain a share in a community garden. Unless you can grow a garden, it can almost never be done in the suburbs, where you have the disadvantages of both urban and rural living, and not necessarily the advantages. Click here to learn more.
You'll give up on a lot of creature comforts that many families that are technically in poverty manage to enjoy, like big screen TVs and the like. Get a smaller digital TV, especially if it doubles as a DVD player, or use Hulu or TV.com on your laptop for entertainment, and Newsy.com for news. (Find a sample of the latest update here.) Pop a lot of popcorn for movie nights. If you have a gas stove instead of electric, you're better off. At least if the electricity goes off, you still have gas for the stove. Read books from the library. Find books at the discount section of bookstores or at thrift shops. Never pay full price for a book, assuming you haven't tried the library. I have found that with an e-reader, I don't buy nearly as many books (and I have WAY too many books as it is).
With the elements of bread and wine having become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, we now pray in the manner He taught us (Matt 6:9–13, Luke 11:2-4). In the 1973 editio typica of the Roman Missal, it is introduced by the priest/celebrant with one of four different (dare we use this term again) options, none of which are even close to reflecting the Latin text.
(Well, maybe the second one, but just barely.)
Praecéptis salutáribus móniti et divina institutióne formáti, audémus dicere:
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A. Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us:
B. Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and so we have the courage to say:
C. Let us ask the Father to forgive our sins and to bring us to forgive those who sin against us.
D. Let us pray for the coming of the kingdom as Jesus taught us.
When parts of the Traditional form of the Mass were gradually translated into the vernacular in 1964, an introduction was used in the United States which was both faithful to the Latin text, and poetic in its rendering:
Taught by our Savior's command, and formed by the word of God, we dare to say:
Beginning with the First Sunday of Advent this year, there is to be (thankfully) only one introduction, without the absolutely ridiculous provision for "these or similar words" ...
At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:
... which, while not quite as poetic as the 1964 text, is nonetheless a faithful rendition of the Latin. In addition, there is only one of them. More than that, it does not simply refer to what Our Lord taught us to pray, but what He commanded.
The reader is invited to pay particular attention to the accompanying video clip. Notice that the melody in the English plainchant is different than that which we are accustomed to using, yet still sounds familiar. As it is followed by the Latin chant, it becomes clear that this revision is intended to follow the Latin melody more closely.
Now, to where the plot thickens.
Rather than one edition of the Missal for the entire English-speaking world, the practice up to now has been for each country (or more accurately, each bishops' conference or other territorial body of bishops) to authorize the publication of their own, taking into account local factors, ranging from differences in spelling to unique local commemorations of the saints.
And so, the version which ultimately appears in the main text of the Order of Mass, for the Dioceses of the USA, is not the melody that is heard in the video clip, but rather, that which was composed by Robert Snow in 1964, and which has been used in the States ever since. The composition which more closely follows the Latin has been relegated to an appendix. In addition, and as is the case with other chants in the liturgy, the Latin original with plainchant also appears in the text of the Order of Mass, following the English version.
Embolism and Doxology
The prayer is followed by an "embolism;" that is, an amplification or elaboration on the petitions contained in the prayer.
Líbera nos, quaesumus, Dómine, ab omnibus malis, da propítius pacem in diebus nostris, ut, ope misericórdiae tuae adiúti, et a paccáto simus semper líberi et ab omni perturbatióne secúri: exspectàntes beátam spem et advéntum Salvatóris nostri Jesu Christi. Quia tuum est regnum, et potéstas, et glória in sáecula.
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Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.
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Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and for ever.
Notice the return of the rendering of "quaesumus" ("let us beseech" or "let us beg"), as is being accomplished in many of the orations. Note also that we ask to be free from "distress" ("perturbatióne") as opposed to mere "anxiety." Most of all, we wait not so much in joyful hope, with its connotation of mere human sentiment, but in the hope that is "blessed" -- that which comes from seeking virtue, and therefore from God.
It would not have been entirely inappropriate, given that the more ancient usage of English is preserved in this prayer alone (an option not resorted to in all English-speaking countries up to now; the Philippines, for example), that the doxology which has often accompanied it be consistent with this choice. ("For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.")
IMAGE: The Primatial Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo (Spain)
One more quick note about the plainchant at this part of the Mass. The listener will notice in the chant of the doxology, how different it sounds from most Gregorian chant. It may also have been noticed in the Memorial Acclamation as well, which follows the Consecration proper. That is because this is not strictly Gregorian in origin, but is in fact Mozarabic (from the Arabic word for "Arabized"), stemming from that liturgical tradition which originated in the city and region of Toledo, Spain. Indeed, the Mozarabic Rite (also known as Hispanic, or Visigothic) was one of the non-Roman Latin rites in the western Church, which was retained after the Council of Trent, in light of its antiquity, and remains to this day, if only confined Corpus Christi Chapel (also called the Mozarabic Chapel) in the Cathedral of Toledo, and few other select locations throughout Spain.
Now, if they could just explain why the standard doxology for the Order of Mass uses the "Mozarabic option," rather than the one that has always accompanied the 1964 Snow composition. But, alas, we digress ...
Sign of Peace
As much of an adjustment as the textual changes will be for the faithful, they are even more so for the priest. Many who have become accustomed to saying the prayers in the same way, every day, for nearly four decades, must now become re-acquainted with the Order of Mass again, learning not only to say the prayers, but how to pray them as well.
Dómine Jesu Christe, qui dixísti Apóstolis tuis: Pacem relínquo vobis, pacem mean do vobis; ne respícias peccata nostra, sed fidem Ecclésiae tuae; eámque secúndum voluntátem tuam pacificáre et coadunáre dignéris. Qui vivis et regnas in sáecula saeculórum. Amen.
Pax Dómini sit semper vobíscum. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Offérte vobis pacem.
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Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom, where you live for ever and ever. Amen.
The peace of the Lord be with you always. And also with you.
Let us offer each other a sign of peace.
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Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles: Peace I leave you, my peace I give you, look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will. Who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
The peace of the Lord be with you always. And with your spirit.
Let us offer each other the sign of peace.
It is not enough that we pray that Christ "grant us the peace and unity of [his] kingdom," but that it be done "in accordance with [his] will" ("eámque secúndum voluntátem tuam ..."), and also in the context of where He lives and reigns ("qui vivis et regnas ..."), thus being more to our benefit.
The "Lamb of God" was introduced to the Roman Mass in the late seventh century by Pope Sergius. In its early form, the litany was repeated as many times as necessary until the fraction -- that is, the breaking of the bread -- was completed. Eventually it was reduced to being done only three times. In recent years, various settings of this litany have introduced other titles besides "Lamb of God" -- "Bread of Life," "Prince of Peace," and others with varying degrees of suitability -- to restore the lengthening of the Fraction, while allowing for the distribution of the Sacred Hosts and the Precious Blood into multiple receptacles. With the 2010 revision, and in reviewing the Mass settings already published for the revision, this practice appears to have fallen by the wayside. If that does not convince you, perhaps the also-newly-translated General Instruction of the Roman Missal will:
366. It is not permitted to substitute other chants for those found in the Order of Mass, for example, at the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).
Thus we have further cause for rejoicing.
The text itself (given the above, we mean the standard text) is not changed, but in the main body of the Order of Mass, the plainchant setting in English is from Mass XVIII (traditionally used on non-festal weekdays in Advent and Lent, included in the present day in the 1974 "Jubilate Deo" compilation of Pope Paul VI). It is accompanied in the text of the Missal by its Latin counterpart. There is also something else concerning the rendering of the English chant.
This particular detail is a small matter, and yet we could write a separate chapter altogether, on how these texts are set to music, whether in plainchant or in contemporary style, as the more popular publishers of English-language Mass settings already have their goods on the market, well in advance of Advent. Many of these settings, even in their previous editions, betray a critical misunderstanding of the inherent meaning of the text itself. This is elaborated upon in great detail, in a paper written by Deacon Pat Cunningham, who provides a critical analysis of the "Mass of Renewal" composed by William Gokelman and David Kauffman. This setting won an award from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM, or NAPALM) for "Best New Mass Setting." What follows is an excerpt of that analysis:
The Gloria is set in the key of D major, to a triple rhythm. In general, every word is given one note, usually an eighth note. The pulsating, Dionysian rhythm of the Gloria is dictated by the emphasized words:
Glo-ry to God in the high-est, (rest) and on earth peace to peo-ple of good will.
What we have here is, in miniature, the difficulty created when the rhythm of words, rather than their meaning, dictates the melody and rhythm of the music. In the Latin (which has an entirely different word order), there is a natural emphasis on the word “Deo–God” because it occurs at the end of the first line:
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
This means that “excelsis/highest” does not get an undue emphasis in the Latin. But when a triple meter is imposed on the English words, “high” has to be emphasized. Moreover, the words “earth” and “peace” are forced into rhythmic equality, and the connector word “of” is given an awkward, heavy stress by the character of the resulting rhythm-melody. Finally, the important words “Glory to God” are given much less prominence than the less important words “earth ... peace.”
Cunningham is not only giving his own opinion, but that of the Church through the Second Vatican Council (its substance, as opposed to its alleged "spirit"), not to mention more than one Pope. Those who care at all about the state of liturgical music in the Church today, owe it to themselves to read this carefully.
Invitation to Communion
We come to another part of the Order of Mass, where a revision of texts not only more faithfully translates the Latin, but more accurately conveys that which is taking place.
Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccáta mundi. Beáti qui ad cenam Agni vocáti sunt. Dómine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanábitur ánima mea.
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This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper. Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
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Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb. Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
It is a proclamation, not just a statement of fact, reminiscent of John the Baptist seeing Christ at the Jordan for the first time (John 1:29).
Again, those who witness the Lamb of God are not merely in an emotional state of being "happy."
"The supper of the Lamb."
This description recalls the vision in the Book of Revelation (19:9). The response of the faithful not only conveys their own unworthiness, but echoes the same on the part of the centurion with the dying servant (Matt 8:8). The one who receives the Sacrament begs not merely for his own healing, but specifically that of his immortal soul, his very being, transcending the limits of this earthly existence.
From the rubrics for the Order of Mass:
136. While the Priest is receiving the Body of Christ, the Communion Chant begins.
From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:
86. While the Priest is receiving the Sacrament, the Communion Chant is begun, its purpose being to express the spiritual union of the communicants by means of the unity of their voices, to show gladness of heart, and to bring out more clearly the “communitarian” character of the procession to receive the Eucharist. The singing is prolonged for as long as the Sacrament is being administered to the faithful. However, if there is to be a hymn after Communion, the Communion Chant should be ended in a timely manner.
Notice the distinction between the "Communion Chant" and the "hymn."
It could not be clearer that there are official musical selections which are preferred, if out prescribed, for certain parts of the Mass, selections which vary according to the Mass of the day or the occasion. This is a change that could require most adjustment than merely learning a new set of words, and yet it is one that receives so little attention. But there it is.
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In our next installment, we will review the Concluding Rites of the Mass, and whatever changes are to be made therein.
It happens to all of us, when in the heat of the moment, we forget things (unless, of course, you're Newt Gingrich). But this is politics, and this is America, and we need to make a big-@$$ deal out of everything at the end of the day. What better place to do it than on CBS' Late Night with David Letterman? And what better choice for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy? (Our personal favorite? Number 2.)
Honestly, though, Mitt Romney's performance on this show was smoother. That's not always a good sign.
Dad was too young to serve in World War II. When he got out of the seminary, his Air Force reserve unit was activated. He took some beautiful slides of his travels to Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, while he was with the occupation, but few if any of them depicted military life. I don't know that he found it all that pleasant. In fact, he would have made captain had he not declined re-enlistment. But he was never ashamed to have served. Even after the big war was over, "It was just something every guy did," he said years later.
Meanwhile, Iowahawk's tribute to his father can be found here.
To all of you who have served, to all who continue to serve, a Tip of the Black Hat is in order on this day.
Just a quick note to mwbh readers, concerning our weekly series on the new Roman Missal ...
You've probably noticed that when they are published on Sunday evening, they are not always finished, and generally are by Tuesday evening. Well, this last installment, on the Consecration of the Roman Mass, was the longest, and was not completed until last night. We apologize for that. Many of what are identified as "Catholic blogs" are written by people whose full-time work is writing. This writer, as suggested in his tagline, has kept his day job. Further, the series on the new translation is the most ambitious in the nine-plus-year history of this weblog. As this is written, the next installment has already begun, devoted to the Communion of the Mass.
Much is being written in the secular press about preparations for this change to Catholic life. Many diocesan periodicals are doing articles about preparations in their locales. We hope to make some mention of them eventually.
Recently, someone got the idea that the current format of all candidates for the Republican nomination, appearing on one stage and competing for attention, would be likened to a game show. If that's true, it's one where nobody wins, least of all the American people. But hey, let's get one more look at the game format from tonight's debacle, and watch the guy who was supposed to beat Romney lose his marbles on national television.
The lesson here is the lesson of the history of modern politics, that the one who ends up being nominated is a long way from being obvious when it's twelve months away. Perry isn't the first to flame out after a big flash, and he won't be the last.
Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.
Mull of Kintyre (in Gaelic, Maol Chinn Tìre, or "The rounded [or bare] headland of Kintyre") is located at the tip of the Kintyre Peninsula in southwestern Scotland. The song was written and recorded by Paul McCartney and Danny Laine in 1977, while performing with the group Wings. It became a number one hit just before Christmas of that year in the UK, where it was the first single to sell over two million copies.
We haven't talked much about the "Occupy" movement here, whether on Wall Street, or in other major cities. My son and I have discussed it at some length, as he has been following the "Occupy Atlanta" movement closely. Paul admits to frustration over the extent to which people fail to articulate their grievances, into a platform or other statement of principles. That said, he does not support the notion at all, that this movement has any common ground with the "Tea Party," other than a dissatisfaction over TARP.
Late last month, Reason.tv followed the investment guru, radio show host, not apologist for capitalism (not to mention author of the book How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes) Peter Schiff, as he spent three hours among the Occupy Wall Street protesters in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. Carrying a sign saying "I Am the 1%, Let's Talk," Schiff spent more than three hours on the scene, explaining the difference between cronyism and capitalism, bailouts and balance sheets, and so on. Schiff understands their anger, but considers it "misdirected," which appears to be putting it kindly about two minutes into the clip. Most of these people don't argue so much with him as at him, with little more than the usual litany of knee-jerk clichés and regurgitating bumper sticker slogans.
They probably wouldn't listen to Reason's Steve Chapman either.
My son should have been there. He and Schiff would be equally matched. Then the guy would be so impressed, he'd have a job waiting for Paul the minute he graduated. That would work out great, because Paul would learn to love capitalism, hopefully keeping his conscience along the way. It also doesn't hurt that Paul really loves New York City.
If you can't stand listening to a bunch of hippie-dippie wannabes for nineteen minutes, catch the two-and-a-half-minute version here. On the other hand, if you're a glutton for punishment, catch the nearly-two-hour uncut version here.
(Video produced by Anthony L. Fisher. Camera by Nathan Chaffetz.)
“Our entire daily lives cannot be occupied with purely religious practices; all of us have to eat, and most of us have and want to do many other activities besides. So though we cannot always be religious in this sense, we can always be Catholic, that is, the round of our daily activities can be conducted in such a way as to express and be in harmony with our Faith. And [this] can involve more than avoiding sin and exercising virtue.”